EditorialTHEWILL Editorial: Real Hunger In The Land

THEWILL Editorial: Real Hunger In The Land


September 10, (THEWILL) – There is real hunger in the land and Nigeria may not be able to meet the 2030 target for the Sustainable Development Goal on zero hunger. With just about seven years to the date set by the United Nations for the SDG2, it is very unlikely that the country will meet the target, given the prevailing circumstances.

The stark reality staring us in the face now as a nation is that no fewer than 17.7 million Nigerians are hungry. According to the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF), there is a possibility that the figure will rise to 25 million if practical steps are not taken to save the embarrassing situation. Sadly, about one million, out of the figure, suffer from what has been described as acute food insecurity as they remain hungry and do not know where and how the next meal will come.

More pathetic is the fact that about 35 million children in Nigeria are malnourished as the country continues to parade an unenviable record of being home to the highest number of affected children in Africa and the second highest in the world. Already, four states – Lagos, Kano, Borno and Katsina – have been listed as having the highest number of food-insecure people in the country, even as widespread malnutrition persists in Nigeria.


A Nutrition Officer with UNICEF, Nkeiru Enwelum, who dropped the shocking figures on Thursday in Abuja, at a two-day media dialogue on nutrition financing in Nigeria, said, “About 35 million of under-five children in Nigeria are malnourished, ” adding, “And out of this, 12 million are stunted.” At the dialogue organised by the Child Rights Information Bureau (CRIB) of the Federal Ministry of Information and National Orientation, in partnership with UNICEF, she blamed the high burden of malnutrition in the country on poverty, ignorance and inadequate budgetary allocation for nutrition.

UNICEF Communication Specialist, Geoffrey Njoku, had earlier berated the federal and state governments for their failure to allocate enough funds to tackle increasing levels of malnutrition in the country, as he called for the need to close funding gaps through local resource mobilisation and increased awareness by the media.

The skyrocketing prices of foodstuffs and other necessities of life resulting from the high inflation in the country are also compounding the food security challenge as the average Nigerian now considers a daily three-square meal a luxury that most people could no longer afford.

Realising the impact of the increasing hunger in the country and its effects on his efforts at putting things right, President Bola Tinubu recently declared a state of emergency on food security with incentives to farmers to enable them boost food production across the country through agriculture. Similar programmes were also initiated at the state and local government levels to boost productivity in the agricultural sector.

We, therefore, commend the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), a Canada-based intergovernmental organisation created by the Commonwealth Heads of Government to promote and develop distance education and open learning, for its initiative in Nigeria. On Friday, the Commonwealth of Learning, in partnership with the Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute (ARMTI) and Obafemi Awolowo University(OAU), Ile-Ife, trained over 100 vegetable farmers on digital agriculture in Osun state.

The training , according to the programme convener, Prof. Adeolu Ayanwale, was to sensitise vegetable farmers on the potential in digital facilities that would help them to improve production and contribute their quota to the fight against food crisis in Nigeria.

We are also glad that the train-the-trainers initiative also came on a day the First Lady and wife of the president, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, restated her determination to affect the lives of Nigerians positively through her Renewed Hope Initiative (RHI) as she advised Nigerians to start growing food items in the gardens in their homes to feed their families and neighbours.

Speaking during a courtesy visit to her office by the Honourable Ministers’ Wives Forum led by its convener, Mrs. Susan Lokpobiri, wife of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Friday in Abuja, Mrs Tinubu said the RHI is out to improve the lives of Nigerians by supporting their families through agriculture and other interventions.

“I am more interested in lives than building huge houses. Another one that will interest you which everybody can participate in, for the agricultural programme in RHI, we are planning that everyone should have a garden to grow food. Since President Bola Tinubu has declared a state of emergency on food security, therefore, we are encouraging people to start planting in gardens and we are only going to pick one garden as the winner. Therefore, your garden should be able to produce food for you and your neighbour. The best garden will go home with prize money of N20 million for the winner,” she said.

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